Passage for Study: Acts 13: 45 - 48 … 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us: “ I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, that you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.” [Is. 49:6]
48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
My Journal for Today: I really like Swindoll’s title for today’s devotional, “Tangled in the Tangibles.” It certainly expresses where we 21st century Christians find ourselves all too often. But it certainly didn’t define the lives of Paul and Barnabas in their missionary journeys to Asia Minor. In our text story for today we read how, though it was their custom to preach/teach in the synagogues first in any new town, they ended up evangelizing mostly to the Gentiles, who were positively disposed to hear rather than getting hung up in religious issues or cultural hang-ups.
In other words the Jews got tangled in the tangibles; but the Gentiles did not. And Paul and Barney certainly did not as they witnessed for Christ; because they were not deterred by either pursuit of riches or fame. These two had a calling and they didn’t want to dampen their anointing or spiritual power by letting themselves get wrapped up in tangible pursuits, cultural legalism, or the opinions of others.
Oh, how much more potent would the witness be of Christians in today’s Church if we disciples of Christ could avoid getting “tangled in the tangibles.” I admit that many times I either enjoy the applause or the accolades of others too much; or I become restrained in my witness out of fear of the opinions of others. That’s entanglement in the tangible elements of life; and when they hold me back, I’m responding to the lies of Satan, the pressures of the world, or the siren call of my own flesh.
But when, like Paul and Barney, I can break free from these tangibles with the Christlike attitudes of humility and meekness exhibited by these two men, I am empowered by God’s grace to be witnesses for the calling placed upon all Christians (see Acts 1: 8 and Matt. 28: 19-20). Again, if we can memorize and internalize God’s truths, such as those in 2nd Tim. 1: 7, Phil. 4: 13, 1st Cor. 10: 13, and/or 2nd Cor. 12: 9, which come to mind as I write this, we can become untangled from the tangibles and move forward empowered by God’s intangibles (i.e., the Spiritual fruit we are all given in Christ (see Gal. 5: 22-23).
That is my prayer for all of us today.
My Prayer for Today: Lord God, untangle us from the tangibles of life; and empower us with your intangible grace so that we can witness Your truth and be salt and light in this world. Amen